The UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch has released its findings into two fatal accidents aboard the Clipper Race yacht CV21, IchorCoal, during the 2015/2016 Clipper Round the World Race


MAIB’s overall recommendations

The final recommendations from the MAIB are quoted in full here:

Clipper Ventures plc is recommended to:

Review and modify its onboard manning policy and shore-based management procedures so that Clipper yacht skippers are effectively supported and, where appropriate, challenged to ensure that safe working practices are maintained continuously on board. In doing so, it should consider the merits of:

  •  Manning each yacht with a second employee or contracted ‘seafarer’ with appropriate competence and a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of other persons on board.
  •  Enhancing shore-based monitoring and scrutiny of onboard health and safety performance.

Complete its review of the risks associated with a Clipper yacht MOB and recovery, and its development of appropriate control measures to reduce those risks to as low as reasonably practicable, with particular regard to:

  •  Ensuring strict adherence to clipping-on procedures
  •  Reviewing the guardrail arrangements on its yachts to reduce to as low as

reasonably practicable the risk of a person falling overboard

  •  AIS beacon carriage, training and procedures
  •  Providing training in addition to that delivered on basic sea survival training courses to better prepare its crews for the challenges they could encounter
  •  Reinforcing the requirement for yacht crews to carry out regular and effective practical MOB recovery drills
  •  Providing its crews with methods and procedures for reducing sail quickly and safely in extreme weather conditions.


The Royal Yachting Association, World Sailing and British Marine are recommended to:

Work together to develop and promulgate detailed advice on the use and limitations of different rope types commonly used, including HMPE, in order to inform recreational and professional yachtsmen and encourage them to consider carefully the type of rope used for specific tasks on board their vessels.


Marlow Rope Ltd is recommended to:

Review the information provided on its data sheets to ensure that the user
is informed on the loss of strength caused by splices, hitches or knots when using ropes made with HMPE. In addition, work together with other rope producers to ensure that these limitations are promulgated within the maritime sector.


In response to the publication of the MAIB report Clipper Race Founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said:

“The report acknowledges that we have been proactive to mitigate the risks concerned even further. Safety has been our highest priority since the Clipper Race was established in 1996, amassing huge experience through ten biennial editions, 84 yacht circumnavigations (a cumulative four million nautical miles) with nearly 5000 crew undergoing extensive training.”

We have developed our current manning levels and qualifications in conjunction with the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency), operating to MCA standards as a minimum and often well in excess. We frequently implement and develop safety procedures where there is no actual requirement; they are under constant review as a matter of course and we will continue to do so in light of the report’s recommendations.”


The MAIB report stresses that “The sole objective of the investigation of an accident under the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2012 shall be the prevention of future accidents through the ascertainment of its causes and circumstances. It shall not be the purpose of an investigation to determine liability nor, except so far as is necessary to achieve its objective, to apportion blame.”

The full MAIB report can be found on its website:


  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Page 2
  3. 3. The damage of consecutive accidental gybes
  4. 4. How did it happen?
  5. 5. What has been learnt from the incident?
  6. 6. The death of Sarah Young
  7. 7. Man overboard recovery
  8. 8. What happened after the accident
  9. 9. How did the accident happen?
  10. 10. MAIB's overall recommendations
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